Carrying Excess Body Weight is One of the Causes of Foraminal Narrowing

Excess body weight can contribute to foraminal narrowing within the spinal column. Our bodies rely on the spine to support us as we move by bending, twisting and rotating as we participate in various activities. But like any other part of the body, the spine’s components tend to wear naturally down over time. This deterioration and the anatomical abnormalities that it can cause can contribute to foraminal narrowing.

Why weight can make a difference

Although the wearing down of the spine is most readily correlated to the unstoppable force of aging, it can be accelerated by carrying around extra weight. The lumbar (lower) spine is already predisposed to injury due to the stress placed on it on a daily basis, but the lumbar vertebrae are put under even more pressure when there is more weight around the body’s midsection.

Degenerative spinal conditions

When the cartilage between vertebrae wears down (osteoarthritis of the spine), the bones stop gliding against one another, and instead, they grind. The bone-on-bone movement can cause the growth of bone spurs, which may lead to foraminal narrowing if the spurs jut into the spinal canal. This degenerative process may be exacerbated by extra pounds; the same can be said for the development of bulging or ruptured discs, which can also narrow the foramina.

Your next steps

If you have experienced foraminal narrowing due to excess body weight or any other risk factor, your physician will likely recommend that you address your symptoms using conservative, non-invasive approaches like physical therapy. In the case that these treatments are unsuccessful, you may want to research your surgical options at Laser Spine Institute. Contact us today to learn more about the minimally invasive approaches that we utilize — or to receive a review of your most recent MRI.